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Cardiovascular Study in Cross Country Horses

5 February 2011 No Comment

Horse Heart HealthSince 2000, non-traumatic (meaning no crashes) horse deaths on the cross-country have risen dramatically. Most of these horses died from EIPH (Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemmorrage) and ruptured aortas, but the causes for a large percentage of deaths is still unknown. To better understand these deaths and help prevent them, the United States Eventing Association is currently undergoing an extensive Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research study.

Headed by Drs. Kent Allen and Catherine Kohn, horses were carefully evaluated at the Plantation Field Horse Trials before and after their events. Using advanced portable scanners, each horse's lungs and heart were scanned and nine horses were fitted with monitoring devices that kept track of their heart rhythms while on course. The riders of the nine horses were fitted with GPS devices, so that they could be compared an analyzed with the horse's monitoring devices to help the doctors evaluate the relationship between speed, force, fences, and the horse's heart.

The study began in 2008, and is still continuing. At the recent Board of Govenors' meeting (December 2010), Dr. Mark Hart gave an update on the study and discussed that they are expanding their cardiac troponin study, as well as hopes of getting the FEI involved.

Read more about the USEA Board of Govenors' Meeting here.

Read more about the Cardiovascular Study here.

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